To any gardener, all plants are stars. However, the best flowers for pots can shine just a little brighter, especially when you combine several types of flowers in your containers to create a show-stopping arrangement. Maybe you pick out plants that have colorful foliage, beautiful flowers, or graceful trailing stems to them. Or, maybe you’re going for durability and you want the best flowers for pots that look fantastic all spring and summer long. Whatever the reason, you can use them to create bright spots on your deck, patio, or porch.
You could even double the fun and set up multiple containers that complement one another and look fantastic when they’re in bloom. The goal is to get a mix of the best flowers for pots so you have stunning flowers with full foliage. Trailing vines help too because they can gracefully spill down the sides and onto the ground. If you’re not sure what the best flowers for pots are, you’re in luck. We’re going to showcase several stunning varieties you can use to create arrangements that will be the envy of the neighborhood all summer long below.
First on the best flowers for pots list is verbena. This is an excellent container garden pick for the sun because it’ll start flowering in early summer and go until late fall and the first frost. This plant also works wonderfully for attracting butterflies to your area, and they bloom profusely under the right conditions. They’re also very forgiving, so they’re a nice choice for beginners as you get the hang of caring for plants. They come in a large range of colors, including yellow, white, peach, orange, blue, red, purple, pink, lavender, violet, and bi-colors.
This best flower for pots is also very tolerant to drought if you forget to water it a few times. It’ll bounce back without a problem. They only need an average water amount to survive, but they do require good drainage between watering sessions. You should also fertilize them once every few weeks to encourage continual blooms. Deadheading any spent blooms is a good idea to keep your plant looking nice, and it’ll also encourage more flowers. Avoid water logging it, and make sure it gets between six to eight hours of sun a day to be happy.
Verbena by stanze / CC BY-SA 2.0
Although petunias make a beautiful hanging plant, they’re also some of the best flowers for pots. They’re very easy to find for one, and they’re also very inexpensive so it’s easy to stock up. You can choose from a huge range of colors and sizes, so it’s easy to fill in various containers to create a lush look. Even better, you can get petunia varieties that will self-deadhead, and this can remove a lot of the traditional work to keeping this plant looking nice. You can find them in any color ranging from black to white, and this includes bi-colored options. Blooms can also be ruffled, single, or double.
This best flower for pots does love a lot of sun, but they can also survive very well in partial shade. They don’t love a lot of heat, so take this into consideration when you’re deciding where to place them. The soil should drain well, and you can get away with regular garden soil. Make sure you have enough drainage holes in the pots so the plants don’t sit in saturated soil because this can cause issues with root rot.
Petunias by Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0
3. Million Bells
This is another best flower for pots that comes in a riot of spectacular colors that look fantastic in just about any size container you can think of. The huge amount of blossoms on this plant will also work to attract hordes of butterflies to the area, and they’re also very popular with hummingbirds. They’re a hardy plant species that is fantastic for beginners to grow, and you’ll get lovely foliage with a very full look as it blooms. The plant comes in orange, white, red, yellow, and dozens of shades of purple or pink. Also, you can choose from ruffled, double, or single blooms for more visual appeal.
This is a very low-maintenance best flower for pots as it doesn’t require you to deadhead any spent blooms to encourage new growth or keep it looking nice. They do need you to water them consistently, and the pots do have to drain very well to avoid saturating the soil. Place the container in a space that gets full to partial sun, and avoid watering during the heat of the day. They grow in almost any container, so mix and match when you set them up.
Purple Calibrachoa by Martin LaBar / CC BY-NC 2.0
Pansies are great fall flowers to introduce splashes of colors, and they’re one of the best flowers for pots. They’re annuals that love cooler weather. When it gets too warm, this plant can easily get leggy and the colors can start to fade out. If you practice pinching off spent flower stalks, you’ll encourage this plant to bloom continuously into the fall months. Get seedlings that are healthy and stocky, and avoid any that are dry or wilted. It’s common for these plants to get root bound, so you’ll want to tease the roots apart before you plant them to ensure the plant stays healthy.
If you want to start this best flower for pots from seed, you can do so 10 to 12-weeks before you transplant them outside. They like full to partial sunshine, and the soil should be consistently moist but not soggy. It should drain very well between watering sessions. For colors, you can get any bi-color, solid, or tri-color option ranging from black to white. A lot of pansies come with contrasting dark patches, and combinations of purple, violet, blue, and yellow, are common.
This best flower for pots has very pretty blossoms on it. You’ll get a very velvety texture when it blooms, and they have a very rich coloring that contrasts nicely with the center of the plant. Better known as bush violet, this plant will work very well in containers with virtually any other plant that is at least 12 to 14-inches tall. A lot of people like to place it right in the middle of a container and allow it to sprout up while keeping the plants around it semi-shorter to give you the feeling that your container is very full and lush.
This plant isn’t very fussy about growing conditions, and this is what makes it one of the best flowers for pots. It does need protection from very hot sun, so put it in a place that gets partial shade and is sheltered from the scorching afternoon sun. If you fertilize this plant regularly, you’ll get profuse blooms from spring through summer, and they have deep purple, blue, or white flowers to choose from. Water this plant regularly to keep it happy, and make sure that your soil is loose enough to drain well between watering sessions.
Browallia Bell Marine by Serres Fortier / CC BY 2.0
6. Cape Daisy
Just like any type of colorful daisy, this plant is one of the best flowers for pots when it comes to adding a cheerful look and feel. They’re hardy to 25-degrees Fahrenheit, and this makes them a great choice for more northern climates because they’re resistant to temperatures that would normally kill other plants. You can get away without deadheading this plant, but it does look better if you remove the faded blooms when you see them. If you don’t have time, leaving them on won’t hurt the plant in any way. If you make a point to fertilize this plant regularly and make sure it drains well after you water it, it’ll easily bloom into late fall.
This best flower for pots can start to get leggy, but you can fix this by cutting it back regularly. Put it in a place that gets full sun to partial shade. You want to avoid water logging the plant, so water it more often but with a lighter hand. You can choose from purple, pink, orange, yellow, and pure white. Many of these daisies come with a darker-colored contrasting eye on them that provides visual interest when you look at them.
Cape Daisies by Tambako The Jaguar / CC BY-ND 2.0
If you’re looking for the best plant for pots that will really stand out, this is one plant you want to consider having. It produces tight clusters of pretty star-shaped flowers that can be real show-stoppers, and they’re surprisingly large flowers for this plant. Better known as Egyptian star flowers, they’ll attract hummingbirds and butterflies due to the dark red and pink coloring. They also don’t need much care to do very well, and this makes them an excellent choice for beginner or busy gardeners who don’t have time to baby plants along.
Once this best flower for pots establishes itself, it can survive drought and extreme heat with little water or care. Place it in an area that gets partial to full sun. You do want to try and water it regularly, but a well-draining soil is the key to this plant. They don’t like a huge amount of moisture or soggy soil. They can easily bloom through the fall months, and you’ll get the choice of dark red, purple, pink, or white flowers when it blooms. It offers deep green foliage that offsets the flowers too.
Pentas by giveawayboy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
In the right conditions, this best flower for pots is a perennial that will come back every year. However, many people choose to grow them as an annual. This plant can easily flower for several weeks through the summer months if you live in an area where it’s cooler. Ideally, the temperatures will stay between 50 and 60-degrees Fahrenheit. You should also pick out a larger pot for this plant because it needs room to grow and spread out without ending up root-bound and stunted. This is a heavy-flowering plant, so it needs more attention to keep it healthy. To start, fertilize it every few weeks.
When the flowers on this best flower for pots fades, deadhead them. This will help your plant look healthier and encourage new blooms at the same time. Get a moisture-retaining potting soil mix for your larger container, and put the pot somewhere in the partial shade. If the temperatures don’t rise above 60-degrees, you can put it in full sun. Keep the soil moist but not wet enough to be soggy. It’s a mounding plant that produces blooms in magenta, cobalt blue, and several shades of purple or pink with contrasting centers.
Cineraria by yewchan / CC BY-SA 2.0
This is a slightly more delicate best flower for pots, but it can do very well if you’re prepared to spend a little more time on it. It’s better known as the summer snapdragon, and it has an upright growth habit with green, leafy stems and flowers that perch on the tops of the stems. To get stunning colors, try the Archangel Purple or Angelface Wedgewood Blue varieties. Although this plant is more delicate, it’s still very tolerant to heat, so you can place your pot in an area that gets partial shade to full sun. It prefers full sun for at least six to eight hours each day.
You don’t have to deadhead this best flower for pots, but it’s a good idea to get in the practice anyway to encourage new blooms and keep the plant looking healthy. You can choose from mauves, pinks, purple-blues, deep purple, white, and more for colors. They look very nice when you mix them in a pot that contains trailing plants or herbs. They do get slightly higher, so you may want to get shorter plants to put around the edges of the planter and keep these in the middle.
Angelonia by Linda De Volder / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
This isn’t technically the best flower for pots as it doesn’t produce actual flowers for long. However, this plant does have gorgeous foliage that can mimic the colors you can get on flowers, so it made the list. In the last few years, gardeners have seen an impressive explosion of color from the Coleus plant, and there are more to choose from each year. It is slightly more finicky to care for, and you want to read your tag for care instructions because the sunlight preference can easily change from plant to plant. Some like full sun and some require partial shade to do well.
When this best flower for pots does produce flowers, they’re a huge pollinator attractant for butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds. The flowers are very delicate and prone to damage though. You’ll get large leaves, and you can choose from mounded, trailing, or upright varieties to fit into your container vision. Redhead or Trusty Rusty offer red and rust-colored foliage that is very eye-catching. They typically all like well-drained soils, and many of the different varieties are very tolerant to drought. Again, read the tag because this can differ from variety to variety.
Coleus by Ann Stretton / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
If you’re looking for the best flowers for pots that offer little but perky flowers that will last from the spring to the late fall, look no further. This plant has flowers that sit on upright stems, and they come in a surprisingly large range of cranberry, pink, pale yellow, bright yellow, white, and orange shades. Dazzle-Me Lilac and Juicy Fruits Kumquat are two very colorful varieties you want to check out if you’re new to this plant. This is generally considered an annual, but you can encourage it to flower during the winter if you live in a very mild climate with no snow or freezing temperatures.
Put this best flower for pots in an area that gets partial or full sun. It works very well as a vertical accent plant in a mixed container. The soil for this plant should be slightly loose and drain very well. Water it consistently using a lighter hand, and make sure that the soil doesn’t stay saturated between watering sessions because this isn’t good for the plant’s root system. It does well in medium or large containers, especially if you put it at the back of the container or in the middle and have shorter or trailing plants around it.
Nemesia by Thomas / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Did you know that the hydrangea is one of the best flowers for pots? Many people mistakenly believe that they can’t grow this plant in containers because it’s too large, but this isn’t the case. Although this is technically a flowering shrub, it’ll look right at home when you plant it in a larger container. This is especially true if you pick out a dwarf variety that tops at two or three feet tall. There has been a huge increase in varieties for this plant in the past few years, so you have a lot of choices.
Most of these best flowers for pots bloom a whitish-pink or a white color, and then they turn to shades of purple, pink, lime green, or a mixed combination. The soil acidity will play a role in your plant’s color. You can cut blooms and dry them for a beautiful indoor display all year-round. Depending on the variety, they can exist in sun to shade conditions, so make sure you read the tag on your plant. Bobo or Little Quick Fire are nice varieties to try, and plant them in loose garden soil that drains very well between watering sessions.
Hydrangea by Syoko Matsumura / CC BY 2.0
This best flower for pots is slightly lesser-known than others on the list, but it can still make an attractive addition to any container garden. It looks very delicate and frilly, but it’s actually a very hardy and tough plant that can survive a broad range of conditions from harsh droughts to extreme heat without damage. This is why it’s quickly gaining in popularity for home gardeners around the United States. You’ll get a huge amount of very airy, white flowers that give any container a baby’s breath-like effect when you plant them.
The wispy leaves on this best flower for pots is another attractive feature. They’re very small and light green, but they typically get buried under the flowers. They do best when you plant them in an area that gets full sun to partial sun, and you should try the Glitz or Diamond Frost varieties for a nice look. Make sure that the soil is loose enough to drain very well each time you water it because the plant doesn’t like to sit in saturated soil. Also, the soil should be dry to the touch before you water it to avoid giving the plant too much water.
Euphorbia by whologwhy / CC BY 2.0
The begonia is a very versatile best flower for pots, and it’s a fan favorite when you want to add a little color and texture. They’re very showy and hardy, and you can choose from a huge range of leaf shapes and color combinations that give this plant an eye-catching look. Colors range from a brilliant deep orange color to white, and the leaves can be very dark to contrast with the flowers. They can also have a very waxy and shiny look to the foliage to help the plant stand out even more.
Many varieties of begonias do very well in different sized containers, including in mixed containers or in hanging baskets. This best flower for pots doesn’t like to get too wet. Allow the soil to dry out between watering sessions and don’t saturate it when you do water. They like to be in a location with partial sun, and you should avoid putting them in an area in the hot, direct afternoon sunshine. Santa Cruz or Dragon Wing are nice varieties to try, and they won’t take over your containers if you mix in different plants.
Begonia by rpphotos / CC BY-NC 2.0
Roses work very well in landscape planting, and there are several varieties in the running for the best flowers for pots. You do want to try and pick out a shrub variety for your container though over a mounding variety to ensure they don’t overtake the pot. There are newer rose varieties that are much more resistant to diseases than the older varieties, and this makes them much hardier and easier to grow. You generally won’t need to baby this plant along or spray it to ensure it stays healthy.
At Last or Oso Easy are some of the best flowers for pots. They do like sun for six to eight hours a day at a minimum, and the soil should be loose. You can use regular potting soil to keep them happy, and make sure that your container drains well. You can set them out in a very pretty decorative pot and turn them into the focal point of your patio or deck. There are also thornless varieties available if you’re worried about pets or kids getting too close to them.
16. Coral Bell
The coral bell is a low-maintenance plant that is hard to kill, and this makes it one of the best flowers for pots. This is a perennial that will come back year after year, and it’s better known as heuchera. They produce hundreds of little flowers that have a very frothy appearance, and the flowers will arch up over the mounded foliage from early summer to early fall. The leaves on this plant are also very pretty, and they range from the deepest burgundy shades to peach. So, you can look at both the flowers and the foliage to get a very full look with this plant.
Dolce Cinnamon Curls or Harvest Burgundy are two of the best flowers for pots from this variety. They’re pest-resistant too, and this is nice if you have a lot of voles in your yard that can eat other plants. Place your container in an area that gets partial sun and avoids the hot afternoon sun so you don’t scorch this plant. It does best in slightly larger containers, and it looks nice with trailing plants.
Heuchera Border by Amanda Slater / CC BY-SA 2.0
These 16 best flowers for pots can help you create stunning containers to set around your yard, garden, deck, or patio. You can also use them coming up to your front door for a cheerful and welcoming vibe. Mix and match them to get full and lush looks, and enjoy the pops of color and texture they add to your landscape all spring and summer long.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.